- Associated Press - Wednesday, January 29, 2014

LOS ANGELES (AP) - The Fire Department and city leaders are urging people to install smoke alarms after seven fire-related deaths this month - an unprecedented number for a warm winter.

The department typically sees one or two deaths by this point in the year, fire Capt. Jaime Moore said, and that’s during a chillier season when people are more likely to use space heaters and other appliances to keep warm.

“That’s the irony of this,” Moore said. “We’ve had seven fatalities without a cold spell.”

All seven victims “died with no warning, due to no active, working smoke alarms in their homes,” Battalion Chief Stephen Ruda said.

Fire officials also said residents should have a home-escape plan.

“We can talk and we can write so much, but people have to act,” Ruda said. “Maybe it’s the apathy of the people: ‘It won’t happen to me.’ “

Three City Council members on Wednesday proposed measures designed to make sure that homes had smoke and carbon monoxide detectors.

City News Service said the motions would direct staff to look into conducting annual inspections of apartments and other multifamily residences; require carbon-monoxide detectors in all homes; and have the city work with firefighter groups to create a program to give away carbon-monoxide detectors, smoke alarms and batteries.

The City Council will consider the measure next Tuesday.

The deaths this month include a 99-year-old man in Crenshaw; four family members, including two children, from a blaze at a barn-like home in Sylmar; a 61-year-old man from a fire in a Winnetka garage; and a man killed Tuesday in a Mid-City home that lacked a smoke detector.

The latest fire, which killed Damian Young, 37, was mainly confined to one bedroom, and fire officials said he often used candles and incense in his room, although the cause of the blaze remains under investigation.

Young’s mother and an elderly aunt suffered possible smoke inhalation, the Times said.

There were 20 fire-related deaths in the city last year and 22 in 2012, according to Fire Department statistics.



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